It’s always a bit humbling to read about the work of the MSHS Award winners, who were celebrated Saturday at a recognition event at Bachman’s in Minneapolis.
Each year, MSHS honors individuals and organizations who make Minnesota a better place because of their work in public gardening. This year’s MSHS award winners run the gamut from TV presenters to horticulture professors and include an array of dedicated volunteer gardeners. Without further ado, here’s the list of winners. You can read more about them in the November/December issue of Northern Gardener, which should be on newsstands and in mailboxes around the state now.
President’s Award: The winners were Bobby Jensen and Belinda Jensen of KARE-11’s Grow with KARE program, who have been great supporters of gardening and MSHS through the show and their work bringing information to the gardening public.
Life Award: Former MSHS board chair Mary Maguire Lerman, who has supported MSHS as a volunteer for many years and most recently worked extensively with the MSHS Garden-in-a-Box program and the St. Paul Midway YMCA Teaching Giving Garden, where MSHS installed 40 garden boxes.
Bronze Award: Retired University of Minnesota floriiculture professor Harold F. Wilkins, whose research, teaching and writing helped gardeners grow potted flowers and prolong the life of cut flowers. Harold now runs Goldfinch Farm with his partner, Bryan Gjevre, and can be found creating unique bouquets with their flowers at the Mill City Farmers’ Market.
Bruce Beresford Educator’s Award: New London-Spicer agriculture instructor Tracy Tebben teaches his students how to take what they’ve learned in class out into the world. His classes have built a passive solar greenhouse with a wind turbine and planted an arboretum on the high school grounds that serves as a learning tool for several classes.
Garden Club of the Year: Founded in 1929, the Rochester Garden and Flower Club now promotes education and gardening through plant sales, scholarships, public gardening and tours. With 156 members, this active group spreads its love of gardening throughout the community.
Minnesota Recreation and Parks Award: Volunteers from the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Minneapolis maintained the Lyndale Park Perennial Trial and Mixed Border Garden near Lake Harrient, an educational garden to display low-maintenance, hardy plants. Twenty MWGCM members design, plant and maintain the garden, contributing 400 hours of labor annually. The club also has donated more than $8,000 for plant purchases.
Community Garden Award: With a little help from his friends, Paul Thillen has created a garden on formerly neglected land in Pearl Park, across the street from Diamond Lake in south Minneapolis. He’s added paths, planted perennials and even vegetables to transform a little-used, unnoticed patch of public land into an oasis that is enjoyed by birds, bugs and people.
Bob Churilla Golden Rose Volunteer Award: Malinda Smith volunteered more than 120 hours for MSHS over the past year, helping at the office weekly, volunteering at events and serving as a founding member of the fundraising group.
Garden Club Member of the Year: Designing flyers, organizing plant sales, speaking about fairy gardens and forging community partnerships are among the ways Karen Noltee has contributed to her garden club, the Rochester Flower and Garden Club.
St. Paul Garden Club Award: Spearheaded by Emily Organ, the Victory Tiny Fields Project has been distributing vegetable garden kits to residents of the Victory and Cleveland neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The project has grown from five front-yard gardens to 21 in one year, igniting interest in gardening and building community connections.
Joseph Priley Award: Judy Code is the innovative and dedicated force behind many of Northfield’s community beautification projects, including flowers on Bridge Square; plants around the U.S. Post Office, Northfield Public Library and other public buildings; and 22 hanging baskets and eight planters around the city.
Governor’s Certificate of Commendation: For six year, Shirley Gilmore has worked to save colonies of lady’s slippers in an area of Beltrami County under highway construction. The work involves moving the orchids to a safe site in the Chippewa National Forest during construction, then moving them back to their home habitat when construction is complete.
Congratulations to all the winners!!